Westminster misses many chances, not victory, 1-0

No. 4 Owls fail to convert 1st 13 shots vs. Catonsville

High Schools

Field hockey

September 06, 2001|By Rich Scherr | Rich Scherr,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

It may just be the beginning for the fourth-ranked Westminster field hockey team, but the Owls already are searching for a way to finish.

After coming up empty on their first 13 shots in a one-sided affair yesterday against defending Baltimore County co-champion Catonsville, the Owls settled for a second-half goal by junior Christine Leazer to claim a precarious 1-0 win in the season-opener for both teams.

"We had a lot of opportunities," said Leazer. "We should have had more than one goal, definitely. It was frustrating."

For perennial power Westminster (1-0), which last year ended its season with a shootout loss to Walt Whitman in the Class 4A state semifinals, the news was all good, except for the bottom line. The Owls out-shot the Comets (0-1) by 17-2 and pressured their goal for most of the game.

Despite 21 penalty corners, however, they could only capitalize once - a statistic that is likely to keep them busy in practice until Friday's game with Dulaney, the other Baltimore County co-champion a year ago.

"It's not a luck thing," said Westminster coach Judie Puckett. "We need to work hard and work at moving the goalie better."

After barely missing on several early opportunities, including hard shots by Lauren Hart and Leazer that were blocked by Catonsville goalie Kelsy Havens, Westminster (1-0) finally took the lead on a penalty corner with 26:50 left. Janna Scott hit it out to Shannan Finch, who then found Lydia Eppig open on the left side.

"Lydia passed it to me, and I just happened to be right in front of the goalie," said Leazer. "I just turned around, spun around the goalie and hit it in."

Though the Owls created several more scoring chances, each time they were thwarted by a Catonsville defense.

"We're pretty happy about this today," said Catonsville coach Jennifer Gemmill, whose team lost to Westminster, 5-0, in last year's season-opener. "We graduated about 14 seniors, so this is a really young team. Still, I think we worked very well as a team."

At a school where the field hockey team annually is in contention for a state title, the Owls know they will need to ratchet up their offense and finish off prime scoring opportunities.

With Dulaney just a day away, Puckett said they'll need to find a way to do that quickly.

"We're going to have to play a whole lot better on Friday," said Puckett.

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